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Term of pure joy? A look at Fazul Mahamed's reign as NGOs board boss.

Fazul Mahamed has resigned as NGOs Coordination Board boss after a troublesome tenure that saw him termed controversial, defiant and adamant.

Mahamed, the board's Executive Director, ordered the shutdown of many organisations in the country, mostly on the premise of illegal operations.

Mahamed resigned early Monday, with days to the end of his term. He described his last three years at the board as "nothing short of pure excitement and joy".

But was the tenure as rosy as he told Kenyans?

UNMITIGATED DISASTER USED FOR POLITICAL WARS?

Mahamed is a politically connected man so his decisions were always questioned.

Some critics consider the man an unmitigated disaster who was incompetent and fraudulent, while his backers think him a tough enforcer of the law.

His crackdown on NGOs, especially during the elections season, granted him a fair share of name-calling by activists, the Opposition and some government officials.

Mahamed went after the Kenya Human Rights Commission and AfriCOG immediately after the August 8 election whose presidential results the Supreme Court nullified.

He also took on Muslims for Human Rights (Muhuri) whose chairman Khalef Khalifa filed a petition on the vote at the Supreme Court, alongside activist and lawyer Njonjo Mue.

The outgoing Executive Director also targeted foundations linked to Opposition leader Raila Odinga's daughter's Rosemary, then-Nairobi Governor Evans Kidero and Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka..

In May 2017, Mahamed accused Kalonzo's charitable trust of failing to account for a total of Sh146 million and failing to explain how it had spent a further Sh50 million it received from China.

He directed Central Bank of Kenya to preserve the firm's accounts pending further instructions. But Kalonzo protested the move in court saying it was part of efforts aimed at frustrating his political career

AfriCOG also countered Mahamed's move for it to be shutdown and a court later stopped the crackdown.

Mahamed added rebuke to his already controversial reputation by ordering the closure of Kura Yangu, Sauti Yangu and Inuka Kenya whose Chief Executive Officer is John Githongo.

Last year therefore, Mombasa civil societies wanted him removed from the board as "he had no capacity" to hold the top position.

More than 23 organisations in the county asked the Interior CS to immediately crack the whip on the "fraudulent" Mahamed.

QUALIFICATIONS NIGHTMARE

Besides political matters, Mahamed's appointment to the board remained controversial with two state agencies declaring him unfit to hold public office.

There have been questions about his academic credentials as a regulator known for cherry-picking his targets.

The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission forwarded a report to the DPP on administrative action following claims Mahamed was not qualified to hold the position.

The DPP returned the file to the commission recommending further investigations and in May last year, a probe found the man was hired despite lacking qualifications.

The outgoing official, however, remained unmoved and no action has been taken against him by the state employer.

The board, which is operating without members, was moved from the Devolution to the Interior ministry.

Civil society groups view the entity as one that is being used by Jubilee to harass and frustrate critics of President Uhuru Kenyatta's administration.
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Publication:The Star (Nairobi, Kenya)
Geographic Code:6KENY
Date:Feb 26, 2018
Words:619
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